There’s an important conversation happening now in the book world about what students should and shouldn’t be reading. Book banning, according to the American Library Association (ALA), is the act of removing materials from a school or library’s physical or digital collection as a result of objections about the book’s ideas or information. The New York Times reported that these objections are increasing at a pace not seen in decades.
While the topic is getting media attention today, it’s not a new concept. Classic titles that have faced criticism include The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, although records of challenges extend back even further. In 1953, a fictional dystopian novel was published about book banning—Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451—which is the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns.
The Office of Intellectual Freedom, a division of the ALA, works to ensure free access to information is available to all, and celebrates the freedom to read each year during Banned Books Week in September. With a mantra of “Books Unite Us,” their mission is to allow everyone to read freely, so that books may build bridges among us. This access can be especially important for children who are still learning what it means to accept others who look different from themselves or come from unfamiliar places or situations.
Here's a look at the top 13 most challenged books from 2022:
For more challenged books, you can browse this list.
As this cultural conversation around the appropriateness of books continue, it’s important to listen, learn and reflect. Books allow us to do just that. If you’d like to continue to learn more about book banning efforts, check out these recommended reads:
Find more books at your local library through Libby, the library reading app.